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Looking for something like the DBA-02s but with more low end bass and sub-bass

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure if this is possible...I've only really owned analytical type IEMs, but now I'm looking for a change, the current pair that I own and love are the DBA-02s.

 

My requirements are:

Much more bass and sub-bass impact, the DBA-02s are anemic in the bass department IMO.

Wider soundstage (if possible)

Under $250USD

I still want a sharp fast IEM, but it can be a little more laid back.

This will be used in a portable setup, so it will be unamped

 

Thanks :)

post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daemos View Post

I'm not sure if this is possible...I've only really owned analytical type IEMs, but now I'm looking for a change, the current pair that I own and love are the DBA-02s.

 

My requirements are:

Much more bass and sub-bass impact, the DBA-02s are anemic in the bass department IMO.

Wider soundstage (if possible)

Under $250USD

I still want a sharp fast IEM, but it can be a little more laid back.

This will be used in a portable setup, so it will be unamped

 

Thanks :)


I believe the e-Q5 could be had for about $250 and be a good candidate for your needs.

 

post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by -y0- View Post


I believe the e-Q5 could be had for about $250 and be a good candidate for your needs.

 


I am on the same boat as well, I thought e-Q5 is quite a bit warmer than DBA-02/B2

 

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm reading the multi-iem thread, and I also found the Vsonic GR07

 

How do they compare?

post #5 of 15

The DBA-02 is fast, aggressive, and reasonably well balanced.  Their downsides include some of the issues you see, mainly the lack of bass.  Well, it's not so much a lack of amount (although there is roll off) and more a matter of lack of thickness.  Decay is very short and the note weight simply isn't there.  It's short enough in note to even cause the lower midrange to sound a little lean.  To get the bass presence you want, you need a thicker note.  A thicker note unfortunately means more decay and often a less quick earphone or in some cases a looser, sloppier sound if not simply thick.  There's always trade-offs.  You just have to decide which you want.  For example, the DBA-02 is aggressive and forward, but it's a byproduct of a relatively small dynamic range.  You hear a lot because even quiet stuff is reasonably loud.  You can get an earphone with more dynamic breadth, but it won't be as forward, and the quiet stuff may be harder to hear unless the earphone has very good clarity and very low distortion.

 

There's a whole slew of things so we kind of have to start off with a series of questions.  You have given us some answers though.

 

1) You want more bass, or at least more even presence of bass.  Since you don't complain about having too much highs or mids, I doubt you are specifically looking for a bass dominant earphone.  You likely just want more balance.

 

2) How much speed and detail are you willing to give up?  Does the new earphone need to show you all the tiny little details or would you be willing to step to something a little thicker/smoother?

 

3) How aggressive do you want the presentation to be?  How forward?  How in your face?  Do you want to have something similar to what the DBA-02 has or would you like something a little less up front for something a little more spacious and ambient?

 

 

I will make a note that sound stage on a basic level consists of the room noises (reverberations, reflections, echos).  These sounds exist during and more audibly in between the main musical notes.  In order to create these in between notes, it is important for the earphone to have a reasonable amount of decay.  You need to fill in that time in between.  As well, you need a reasonable level of detail and clarity.  The clearer the information, the more small bits you can hear.  This helps make the space more real, more fleshed out.  Dynamics also play a big role in stage space.  Loud is close.  Quiet is far.  Having high dynamic breadth allows an earphone to more correctly portray this range and more fully create a sense of closeness as well as distance.  Dynamics add depth.  Decay adds thickness and space.  Clarity and detail bring out the detail.  In this sense an ideal earphone would be one that is very detailed, very accurate, very dynamic, and has a lot of decay, well at least the best mix of these things that is physically possible.  If dynamics are less, the presentation becomes a little more forward/close and the depth decreases.  If the decay shortens, the stage space begins to lose its realism, becoming almost ghostly or semi-transparent.  If the level of detail lacks, the stage space gets more blurry, more vague.  If these are bad enough, the earphone pretty much can not create any believable sense of stage space at all, as in you can't really make out any sense of space, distance, location, or separation.  Everything is just on top of each other with no real differentiation..  I will say that the DBA-02 is not great in terms of sound stage.  It does lack dynamic range and lacks decay.  It has speed and detail, but the short decay means that in between detail isn't there at all, even if the driver could play it well if it was.

 

 

You bring up the GR07.  This is a good earphone.  It certainly has a lot better low end than the DBA-02.  It is reasonable dynamically, has excellent decay, and is quick.  The sound stage is rather good too due to good decay and level of detail.  The transparency is also excellent, a testament to very low harmonic distortion as well as minimal mechanical noise.  The GR07 is reasonably aggressive but also pretty forgiving.  They will show you flaws but not bite your head off.

 

Because the CK10 can be had within the $250 range, it would also be an obvious suggestion.  It will offer you very high speed and detail but also offer you more dynamic range and decay.  The low end is much more filled out, but it's still not a bass heavy earphone.  It is however well balanced.

 

The e-Q5 certainly another excellent suggestion.  Again like the above two, this is another well balanced earphone, great dynamic breadth, textured.  It's energetic but less analytical than the GR07 and doesn't show every little detail like the CK10.   

 

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

I do not mind giving up some of the highs, but I definately want much more bass impact. Not bass head level, but very deep. I know it is difficult to compare IEMs to say a well rounded speaker setup (esp 2.1 with mutliple drivers) but there should be a IEM that can do something similar.

 

Basically I want a headphone that will make me want to tap my toes and move with the music, not something that has to make me examine the music with a fine tooth comb.

 

 


Edited by Daemos - 11/16/11 at 10:32pm
post #7 of 15
The dynamic IEMs like MTP Copper, GR07, EX600, EX7550, Sennhieser IE8 and HJE900 are recommended.
post #8 of 15

@mvw2: Nice explanation! How would the Westone UM2 fit in with these IEM's? I'm leaning towards this earphone and I seem to have about the same requirements as the TS. Coming from Shure SCL2 though.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daemos View Post

My requirements are:

Much more bass and sub-bass impact, the DBA-02s are anemic in the bass department IMO.

Wider soundstage (if possible)

Under $250USD

I still want a sharp fast IEM, but it can be a little more laid back.


If sharpness is more important: FAD Heaven A (FI-BA-A1). More bass than TWFK based IEMs (CK10, DBA02, ...) and e-Q5/7, excellent soundstage.

If sub-bass is more important: Sony EX600 or EX1000 (if you can get them for $250). Best bass I've heard, but still very clear, wide soundstage.

 

Please note that all of these are vented and have less isolation than the DBAs.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

So I think I have narrowed down to the FAD Heaven A which I can get new at the same price of the e-Q5s...but I know someone across the country who has a pair of UM3X for sale as well...which were originally out of my price range but used they are now in my price range.

post #11 of 15

I did personally prefer the Ortofons to the FAD A1.  I think the SB is good in a warm/smooth sort of way, more on par with the Ortofons but much different.  The A1 and SB are quite near each other in overall performance despite their vast price difference.  The SB is just a little bit better, a little better resolution, a little better balance, but the A1 is tighter and more articulate.  Both offer better clarity and resolution than the Ortofons, but the Ortofons offer a lot more dynamic range and better balance.The FAD options have a thick, full note, weighty.  They do make the Ortofon offerings sound much more light and delicate in nature.  The Ortofons offer much better highs in terms of extension and presence than both the A1 and SB.  I would be hard-pressed to suggest the SB given the price despite me actually liking it as a unique smooth offering.  The A1 is one I initially really liked, but it sort of wore off in time.  I do still prefer the Ortofon offerings as far as a better overall package.  I do personally favor the e-Q7 over the eQ5, although both are actually quite close to each other.  The e-Q7 is just a little warmer, a little smoother, a little fuller.  The e-Q5 is a touch brighter, a touch more energetic and edgy.

 

As for what to buy, it's really a matter of personal preference.  All of these products offer certain things.  I do really like the A1, but I personally shy away from less than well balanced earphones these days.  I also dislike when an earphone lacks frequency response breadth on both ends.  A little roll off is fine, especially on a largely warm or bright earphone where a lot of emphasis was put on the other end of the spectrum.  The FX700 is a good example, great low end, more laid back top end, excellent performance, very good balance.  I like this earphone.  The A1 unfortunately is less than balanced and lacks a good bit on the top end.  For something that is not a budget level option, I have come to expect at least good extension, even if the frequency response shape was chosen not to be flat.  Pure inability or vast cut off is kind of unacceptable at this price level.  There are so many other options that can perform this simple task.

 

The UM3X is an interesting earphone.  It's technically outstanding, but the design intent was for professional musicians as a listening tool during play.  It was never geared for musical listening, and the frequency response of the product shows this.  With EQing, it's one of the best earphones I've used.  Without, it's rather colored but can be likable.  There is significant focus on the lower end and low treble.  Both midrange and high treble are recessed.  Proper EQing can vastly improve the musicality of this earphone, but you need a dedicated EQ for it and one that's reasonably flexible, no iPod or Walkman built in crap, rather I'm talking about 10+ band or a very adjustable parametric EQ.  I've owned a UM3X 3 separate times, and I've sold my UM3X 3 separate times.  I've come to use other things.  My current main is my e-Q7.  I have come to the personal (preference) conclusion that it is the best overall balanced earphone I've used to date, a product that is not perfect but offers a wide mix of capabilities and excellent overall balance.  It's broadly capable with few faults.  Preference aside, I view the majority of +$150 earphones I've used to be at a pretty similar overall level of performance.  This is to say that the jump from most things $150 to things $250, $300, or more is small.  Most of the choice at this point is not about finding a holistically better product.  Rather, most of the choice at this point is finding the right sound that best fits you, your preferences, and your goals.  More expensive stops becoming better.  It just becomes different.  A simple example is Hifiman's RE252, RE262, and RE272(the 272 I have not used as of yet).  These are top level products with certain capabilities that are not beat by any other product, but they are relatively affordable.  The driver used in the RE262 is down right amazing.  It's effortlessly dynamic, very transparent(read invisible, i.e. extremely low harmonic distortion), extremely detailed, effortlessly quick, and quite enjoyable to listen to.  I'd still own a pair if it was just a little less colored.  It's just a touch mid-centric (not bad mind you) for my liking.  It's one I would suggest to you even, if it had a thicker note.  It unfortunately suffers the same very short decay and subsequent fate of a lean low end just like the DBA-02.  The bass amount is there, just not the body and weight one expects.  Despite this, the driver is fricking godly.  Heck, I would suggest buying one just to hear it.  It will likely sound a little weird.  Many found it to sound weird to them.  I think the midrange focus is strange.  It's not actually a frequency response issue.  Frequency alone, it's actually well balanced.  It's just that the short decay really cuts down the presence on the low end and pulls the attention and energy to the mid.  The highs are also...odd.  Again the sensitivity (frequency response) is there, but the presentation isn't edgy.  It lacks the raw energy and bite, instead sounding more lax and sweet.  It's actually quite likable, but again your attention pulls back to the mids.  The RE252 is better balanced and thicker in note, but it lacks the dynamics of the RE262.  I consider the RE262 to have a slightly better driver but worse implementation where as the RE252 is better implementation but a not quite as good driver.  I've been curious about the RE272 and may pick up a pair sometime down the road.  It is supposed to be quite good, treble focused apparently, so I'm not sure about the overall balanced of the earphone.

 

Now I'm just babbling.

 

Anywho, the short of it is that most of what you need to figure out is (a) your personal preference,  and (b) which products fall into that preference.  Once you're above $150, better, at least on a holistic scale is minimal.  Most of it is simply a different sound.  It just becomes a better fit instead.  The one with the best fit is the one you will be most happy with.  I would also suggest that you do try out a variety of products over time.  Buy used to keep cost low.  Resale will be at the same price, so loss is basically zero.  Repeat and find your favorite.  That's all I've done over the last few years.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Well I've purchased the Ortofon E-Q5s :)

 

They should be arriving in a few days :)

 

After reading reviews on the FAD's possible cable woes I decided to stay away. Although people have said the DBA-2s are not that durable and i've owned a set for a long time and they still work perfect :)

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

I did personally prefer the Ortofons to the FAD A1.  I think the SB is good in a warm/smooth sort of way, more on par with the Ortofons but much different.  The A1 and SB are quite near each other in overall performance despite their vast price difference.  The SB is just a little bit better, a little better resolution, a little better balance, but the A1 is tighter and more articulate.  Both offer better clarity and resolution than the Ortofons, but the Ortofons offer a lot more dynamic range and better balance.The FAD options have a thick, full note, weighty.  They do make the Ortofon offerings sound much more light and delicate in nature.  The Ortofons offer much better highs in terms of extension and presence than both the A1 and SB.  I would be hard-pressed to suggest the SB given the price despite me actually liking it as a unique smooth offering.  The A1 is one I initially really liked, but it sort of wore off in time.  I do still prefer the Ortofon offerings as far as a better overall package.  I do personally favor the e-Q7 over the eQ5, although both are actually quite close to each other.  The e-Q7 is just a little warmer, a little smoother, a little fuller.  The e-Q5 is a touch brighter, a touch more energetic and edgy.


Eh? Seriously, your description sounds like the A1's filters got clogged. What frequency range are we talking about? I don't hear much above 16KHz, but I like the A1 better with classical music, precisely because they don't roll off as early as the e-Q7. I have new FAD SCs here, that are pretty much a shiny replica of my A1 and they easily beat the e-Q7 in treble presence. What's more, their highs also sound sweeter and don't have the Ortofon's ever so slight grainyness, something that's quite noticable if you listen to a violin on both. As for lows extension, I did bass sweeps when I had the eQ5/7, A1 and SB side by side, and they all reached down to 30Hz and went pretty much silent below that point. Overall my personal impressions concur almost 100% with shigzeo's review (who also attested them better treble than the e-Q7). No offense, but I'm puzzled by your description. confused.gif

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daemos View Post

Well I've purchased the Ortofon E-Q5s :)

 

They should be arriving in a few days :)

 

After reading reviews on the FAD's possible cable woes I decided to stay away. Although people have said the DBA-2s are not that durable and i've owned a set for a long time and they still work perfect :)


Oops, just saw your post after replying to mvw2's. Congrats, the Ortofons are great IEMs and in my book the differences between them and the FADs are rather minor. Looking forward to your impressions...

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

After burn in I will forsure do a review.

 

Although I am not young by any stretch of the imagineation I can still hear up to 20khz (I have taken very good care of my hearing :) )

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